We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Why is John McCain kicking the bucket a big deal with the media?

US Senator John McCain, an ultra-hawk super-statist on the leftmost edge of GOP, kicked the bucket recently. And it seems that this is big news, given the constant stream of articles on the topic ever since. But why is that? And in particular, why are the BBC and Sky, both UK based channels, headlining this when when the vast majority of people outside the USA have a level of interest approaching zero? Yes, it warrants reporting but why is such an event being bigged up like this? Was it because he had the good manners to lose an election to Barack Obama?

Samizdata quote of the day

I am persuaded that no system of government — democratic, oligarchic, aristocratic, monarchical, tyrannical, oriental despotic or worse, liberal-progressive — can deliver anything resembling justice in this world, unless it is under the direction of angels.

David Warren, via Maggie’s Farm

Venezuela is a mess due to terrible policies

“Why is Venezuela a country in turmoil?” asks Adam Parsons, writing for Sky, whereupon he talks about monetary policy, the price of oil, hyperinflation, increases in the minimum wage.

I suppose this all came about due to rip tides or adverse alignment of stars or maybe even ‘bad luck‘.

For an article that asks the question ‘why’, for some reason Mr. Parsons makes no attempt to suggest what could be motiving and informing President Maduro’s actions, a man whose day job is running Venezuela, but who also happens to be president of something else too.

‘Strangely’ nowhere in this article does the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ appear. Go figure.

Aunt Agatha threads her needle through the eyelids of another unworthy seeking advice

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

– The wise and sagacious Agatha Antigone casting yet more pearls of wisdom before the Gadarene swine on line.

Samizdata quote of the day

Hands up everyone who thinks that Liz Warren wants that shareholder interest to be even more powerful in American firms? Quite, then she’s not proposing the Nordic model of corporate governance, is she?

But then, you know, since when did Matt Yglesias allow reality, or even knowledge of it, to ruin a good Democratic Party talking point?

Tim Worstall.

Face it, Matt Yglesias has been a fountain of ignorant fluorescent idiocy since the early days of blogging.

Rowan Atkinson hits the nail on the head yet again

These remarks are as apposite today as when they were first delivered in 2012. The Boris Johnson ‘burqa’ furore is actually not about burqas at all (nothing happened when Ken Clarke made very similar remarks in 2013), it is a nakedly obvious ploy to bring down the main political threat to Theresa May, by using profoundly illiberal notions that politically designated groups are beyond ridicule or criticism.

Aunt Agatha has some wise words for an usual supplicant

Dear “Algy,”

The clue is that word “celebrity.” Because people are bored seeing you yet making money by humiliating people through deception, you should do something that has you on the receiving end. You should sign up for “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.” People would love to see you eating worms and rat-droppings and walking through snake-infested huts through showers of urine. The hostility incurred by your sneering superiority would vanish as they watched you struggle to cope with adversity. You would almost certainly win, because people would vote to keep you in there doing it. It’s novel, and it would bring you the renewed fame and popularity you crave.

Hmm, I wonder who he might be? 😉

It was a date to remember… and an astonishing feat of politics, given the cost

In the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Parliament committed the huge sum of 20 million pounds sterling to compensate slave owners for the loss of their “assets”. That was equivalent to 40 percent of the entire national budget (and five percent of Britain’s GDP at the time), requiring the government to borrow most of the 20 million from private sources.

Lawrence Reed. These numbers really put the political feat of achieving this in perspective.

The watchers do not like it when you watch them…

Our masters do not think it is appropriate for us to observe and record the fact we are being observed and recorded…

That reminds me of of something I posted in 2002.

Samizdata quote of the day

Even the use of that N word to point out how different things are today as opposed to that past is to be verboten? In a media training exercise?

Well, yes, it appears so. As with the various versions of Huckleberry Finn which excise the word – despite its centrality to the moral point that Twain was making.

Do note the point being made here. Which isn’t that there’s some problem with the resignation or firing – Schnatter was running a business using other peoples’ money, offending the mores of the time and place loses them money, bye bye. It’s to ponder whether the mores are quite what they ought to be. The use as an epithet we’re all on board with being unacceptable. The use as an historical reference perhaps less so.

Tim Worstall, pointing out the lunacy of firing someone for saying ‘nigger’ even to illustrate it’s use by someone in the past. This turns the word ‘nigger’ into a magic spell, decontextualised of meaning in a way that is very ‘Frankfurt School’.

The ‘Baby Trump over London’ balloon is being hailed as a triumph of freedom of expression…

And I agree, it is.

And so…

Let’s make ‘Giant Sadiq Khan ‘baby balloon to fly over London’ happen.

Works for me. I gave them some money.

This is how I see it…

The future in Britain is actually quite clear: either Theresa May gets deposed and we get a meaningful Brexit of some kind, or we get Prime Minister Corbyn by a big margin in the next election. It doesn’t matter if you think Brexit is good or bad, or want it to happen or not happen, the Referendum vote was what it was, and that is where we are now.

Corbyn cannot win on his own merits, but Theresa May can hand him victory by making the Tory vote largely implode. Only May can deliver the UK to Corbyn.

The government did not have to hold a referendum, it chose to for several reasons more to do with internal Tory politics than anything else. But it did hold one, and having done so whilst being really quite unambiguous about what the issue was…

… it cannot then effectively ignore the result without delegitimizing not just the party but the British state itself, with serious long term consequences for the very stability of our culture. May must go or a great many even worse things are going to happen, and I hope that is obvious to dispassionate observers on both sides of the actual vote.